Liverpool sealed their place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with a stunning 3-1 victory at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich on Wednesday evening.
Sadio Mane gave the Reds the perfect start despite a cagey opening in Bavaria as he profited on poor goalkeeping from Manuel Neuer to score a spectacular goal. Joel Matip then poked the ball into his own net to haul the hosts level on the night. A thunderous header from Virgil van Dijk though edged Liverpool ahead once again.
Their place in the quarter-finals was sealed in the final throws as Mo Salah crossed for Mane to get his second of the night, leaving Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool fans delighted.
Mane bides his time to strike for the Reds
Despite the result, there were problems for Liverpool less than 15 minutes into the game with captain Jordan Henderson being withdrawn through injury and replaced by Fabinho.
Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino had the first shot in anger in the game as his powerful effort whistled just wide of the post.
The Reds did not have to wait much longer to open the scoring. Mane sprinted beyond the Bayern defence and turned away excellently from Neuer, who had advanced out of his goal. He then looped the ball into the empty net to send the away section into raptures. Andrew Robertson then forced a solid stop out of the German goalkeeper from an awkward angle as the Reds looked to double their lead.
Matip puts through his own net to draw Bayern level
However, the visitors’ lead did not last for long as Niko Kovac’s men hauled themselves onto level terms against the run of play, albeit still behind on away goals. Former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry did excellently to wriggle away from Andrew Robertson and put a dangerous ball across the face of the Liverpool goal. Matip could only stick out a toe and divert the ball into the back of his own net.
The same almost happened in the second-half as Gnabry produced a teasing ball but Lewandowski could not stretch quite far enough to turn the ball into the net.
van Dijk powers a header home
Liverpool were stubborn throughout the second-half with chances at a premium, but when they came the way of the Reds, they took them. James Milner’s corner was an excellent cross and it picked out van Dijk precisely. Despite being marked by both Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels, the Dutchman rose the highest to nod the ball into the bottom corner.
The visitors could have got a third and all-but secure their progression as Mo Salah dribbled into the Bayern box but could not quite get enough power into his shot to trouble Neuer. Roberto Firmino’s effort from outside of the box was then held by Neuer as the Reds edge towards qualification.
Liverpool seal progression
They did indeed wrap up the victory on the night, and their progression to the quarter-finals with another spectacular strike. Salah, who found it tough throughout the evening, produced a stunning cross with the outside of his boot towards Mane at the back post. He flung himself at the ball to nod it beyond Neuer with a powerful header.
Upon the final whistle, the celebrations in the Liverpool section of the Allianz Arena were a sight to behold as they reached the quarter-finals for the second season running.
Liverpool really did put in a stunning performance in Bavaria despite what could have been tricky conditions. Mane in particular was at top form and did not give Bayern’s backline any rest whatsoever. The Reds’ progression to the next round was richly deserved after a great display, whilst Bayern boss Kovac will be bitterly disappointed at his side’s showing.
Bayern Munich: Neuer (5); Alaba (5), Hummels (6), Sule (6), Rafinha (5); Thiago (5), Martinez (6) (Goretzka (5), 72′); Ribery (6) (Coman (5), 61′), Rodriguez (5) (Sanches (N/A), 79′), Gnabry (6); Lewandowski (5).
Liverpool: Alisson (7); Robertson (6), van Dijk (7), Matip (6), Alexander-Arnold (6); Wijnaldum (7), Henderson (N/A) (Fabinho (7), 13′), Milner (7) (Lallana (N/A), 87′); Mane (9), Firmino (6) (Origi (N/A), 83′), Salah (7).
Goals: Mane (26′, 84′), Matip OG (39′), van Dijk (69′)
Referee: Daniele Orsato
Yellow Cards: Fabinho (43′), Matip (63′), Thiago (65′), Sanches (83′), Robertson (90+1′)
Red Cards: N/A